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Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The ginned-up Syrian death toll

Today the U.N. claims that "5000 people a month" are dying in Syria. As I have before, I have to demonstrate why I find this claim utterly non-credible. 5000/month would be 167 every single day. Now we don't know what the standard deviation might be, but we have to assume it would be reasonable large, which would mean that some days would be much lower, while on other days, we could easily expect 300 or more to be killed in a single day, if the 5000/month were to be believable.

So let's look at a report from today, when major battles are being reported. Looking through the article, we find (claims of) six mediators shot in Homs, eight Nusra front militants killed by Kurds, nine people killed at a checkpoint, and "several" regime fighters killed. All in all fewer than 30 were reported killed on a day when major battles are being fought. Is it remotely credible that an average of 167 are being killed every single day? Just yesterday we read about 40 people being killed in a single bombing in Iraq; when is the last time we read about an event in Syria which killed even that many people? And when was the last time we read about a day when more than 200 people died in Syria in just a single day? For my part, the answer would be: never.

I don't know what the statistics are, and I'll also state clearly that they make no difference whatsoever to my stand, which is: Hands off Syria! No U.S. intervention in Syria. However, because these numbers are being used (and, in my opinion, "ginned up") to justify ever-increasing intervention in Syria, it is important to understand them, and rebut them, if they are false. Which, in my opinion, is without question.

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